ethel’s words

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STAYING PUT

A revelation (of sorts) just made me realize I have an unusual quality: I am happy where I am. I am indeed fortunate, twice blessed: I have the niche that I want; I am fulfilled in it.

For my own personal satisfaction, I do not need to go anywhere; I have no desire to travel. Oh, I know (sorta) the grandeur of Planet Earth; the precious peace of the few pristine places; the soul-calming ambience of wilderness, even battered by tourism.

I have not “been there”. Once I wanted to “go there” but now that I have what I want, I’d rather not foul the air and devour resources to see The Wonders. But I am Happy. I do not need to go to movies, to live vicariously. I think it is not for that that many people hit the flicks, but for an unfortunate multitude, movies are “living another life”.

For the same reasons, I do not often watch television. There are exceptions: Both movies and TV offer real information, excellent documentaries once in a while. And I am not a hermit; I am definitely a community person, active in neighborhood and in politics. I try to stay reasonably informed through magazines, newspapers, and books--in that order--but I am not a news junkie. I know enough to know how desperately protest activism is needed, and I do it. Genuine, honest, elective politics would be better--if it is ever attainable.

But the wealth I have, most folks would laugh at, scorn, or pity. But few would guess, I guess, what the central core of my good fortune is: I have “a place of my own” where I can sit out of doors, in the sun, under my own rules and at my own pleasure. Well, there is a bit of hyperbole there--I am subject to laws even in my own castle: I don’t “get away with” murder, assault, child abuse, rape, or visible-beyond-my-borders nudity. I cannot cook amphetamines and I certainly would not. I cannot raise or use marijuana, and now that I no longer have migraine headaches, I would have no use for that ancient panacea. I did not have it for my headaches; now there are sufferers who cannot have it to soothe their pain or their nausea. I would surely de-criminalize it. (If someone misbehaves under the influence, get them! Get them for the misbehavior!)

Other than those prohibitions, that I do not need, I have my liberty. That is a luxury. You who have it ought to be grateful. In the over-populated future, damn few will be able to have this treasure of freedom. I regret that that is so.

Ethel C. Hale